To give insight into the reality of social distancing, search giant Google has released a set of COVID-19 Mobility Reports based on Google Maps data.

These reports, which can be viewed by country, state, or county, show how movement has changed in an area since social distancing began.

Change in movement was broken down into six types of locations: retail & recreation, grocery & pharmacy, parks, transit stations, workplace, and residential.

LebTown checked out the Lebanon County report to see what it said about the impact of social distancing locally.

The Lebanon County report (see page 20 on the PDF here) showed that, from a baseline level of movement, retail & recreation dropped 43 percent, grocery & pharmacy 23 percent, transit stations 28 percent, and workplace 32 percent. Residential movement, on the other hand, increased by 12 percent.

While the report suggests a 42 percent drop of movement in parks, it also notes “there is not enough data to generate an aggregated and anonymous view of trends.”

COVID-19 Mobility Report, Lebanon County data.

Overall, Lebanon County’s trends mirrored state trends, though local decreases in movement were generally smaller than statewide decreases.

Across the state, retail & recreation dropped 50 percent, grocery & pharmacy 27 percent, transit stations 52 percent, and workplaces 38 percent. Residential movement increased by 12 percent, equal to the increase in Lebanon county.

The state also saw an overall increase in movement in parks: seven percent. This may suggest that Lebanon county parks movement is higher than the report estimated, considering the lack of data available for this category in Lebanon.

The Pennsylvania report contains movement data from Feb. 16 to March 29. While the percentage increase or decrease is available, the total number of visits to a location is not.

“To protect people’s privacy, no personally identifiable information, like an individual’s location, contacts, or movement, is made available at any point,” noted Google in a blog post announcing the report.

Read all of LebTown’s COVID-19 coverage here.

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Emily Bixler was born and raised in Lebanon and now reports on local government. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano and going for hikes.


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